A little late on this Trip Report, but I thought I'd share it.
A few months ago some friends from NYC had an idea of hiking Mt Washington on 4th of July weekend. When I heard about their plans I thought it was a little strange since they donít hike often. The plan was to avoid the barbeques normally attended that weekend and do something active. Knowing that I hike all the time in Whites they invited me along and asked for information so they could plan their stay for the weekend.
I bombarded them with links to websites that contained information on hiking Mt Washington and warned them of the dangers and how they should prepare themselves. As the date grew near and their plans began to take shape I wondered if they were really up to it. They assured me that they were in good enough shape to hike and they also wanted a long and arduous hike to the summit. The night before the hike they all voted and decided that we would hike up to Jefferson via the Six Husbands Trail and then make our way to Washington via the Gulfside Trail then down using Lions Head Trail or Tuckerman Ravine Trail.
We started out around 8:45 from Pinkham Notch with excellent weather predicted. It was incredibly clear with only a slight breeze and even the summit cone was completely clear of any fog. We started our long gradual hike to the Six Husbands Trail extremely confident that all of us would be off the mountain well before sunset. Unfortunately what I thought would be a quicker pace was a little too slow for such a long day, but never mind the trip organizer thought it would be like a walk in the park. He even brought his Business Week magazine along in his side pocket to read when we stopped for quick rests and snacks.
We finally made it to the Six Husbands Trail around 1pm and started our ascent of Jefferson. At this point I thought the group would pick up the pace, but instead they started to lag behind. The Six Husbands Trail is a very steep climb that has five ladders and a lot of scrabbling over huge boulders. It is really incredible and I highly recommend it if you like steep ascents. If youíre afraid of heights you should definitely avoid this trail! According the guidebooks you shouldnít attempt to hike down and along the way we met a guy trying to do just that. He explained that this trail would get him to his car a little faster. Iím not sure if thatís the case since he was hanging precariously while trying to lower a large pack when I met up with him high up on the trail. I canít even imagine how he fared later without any help and at just the beginning of such a steep descent.
Another member from the group and I finally made it to the Gulfside trail just after 3pm and waited patiently for the rest of the group to catch up. We had already waited a number of times for them to make it to this point. And at this time it was decided that we would split up since the trip organizer and another would be finding another way down from Washington instead of hiking down. So, much for a walk in the park! I gave them a trail map and one of my two way radios then proceeded to run and hike the rest of the way to Washington to see how they would get down. It was an incredible day above tree line with only a light breeze and clear skies all around. I finally made it to the summit around 5pm and waited for the rest to catch up. I radioed back to the two who wanted a ride down that it would be $24 per person and the last van would leave at 6:45. Lucky for them even though they were still over a mile away they had plenty of time to get to the summit before the last van.
I sat and waited for the rest of the group to arrive on the rocks near the summit sign. I find it funny that so many people drive up to have their picture taken at the summit. The weather was incredible. I had been at the summit the day before with temperatures in the mid 40s and a chilly gusty breeze. Despite the never ending foot traffic of tourists it was easy to enjoy the mid 60s with a light breeze on the summit. Simply amazing! The rest of the group and I hiked down by 8:45 and met the rest of our friends who had only beaten us by van by 45 minutes. It was great hike despite the fact that some had overestimated their own abilities and the mountain.
Pictures from 07.03.05